When I took over from Larry King at CNN, I did my utmost to show him the respect his extraordinary career warranted. ‘I feel like the guy who followed Sinatra at The Sands – it’s a supreme honour just to tread in such a legend’s shadow,’ I repeatedly cooed, publicly and privately.
Larry, now 80, responded fairly soon into my tenure by saying watching my show was like watching his mother-in-law driving his Bentley over a cliff. He didn’t specify which mother-in-law, which may be because he’s had eight of them so probably can’t remember all their names.
But the point was made – Larry hated this younger British upstart replacing him. For the next three years he kept up a sustained barrage of bitchy public digs at my expense. His main complaint was that I talked too much, which seemed pretty rich coming from a guy who’s earned a living for 60 years talking the hind legs off the proverbial donkey.
He also disliked my ego. ‘ Piers makes it all about him,’ he sneered. I don’t contest the central allegation, but point out by way of mitigation that at least I didn’t legally change my name by deed poll to ‘King’ to boost my career prospects – as the artist formally known as Larry Zeiger did.
I assumed he’d pack it in after my show ended in March. But no, Larry was at it again today, branding me a ‘pompous Britisher’ and mocking my supposed ratings failure. It was time to respond. ‘Memo to Larry King,’ I tweeted. ‘Get over it you daft old goat, you wrecked CNN’s 9pm ratings, not me.’
Which is true, since his last few years saw his viewership collapse faster than Brazil’s ‘defence’ in the World Cup. I kept the ratings pretty much where he left them, not a glorious achievement admittedly, but not bad either. I added that King had been a ‘graceless, petty little man’.
He didn’t respond, but his eighth wife Shawna did. ‘I’m tired of your namecalling of my husband,’ she declared. ‘Ur always trying to pick a fight.’
‘Memo to Larry King,’ I tweeted. ‘Get over it you daft old goat’
This ludicrously delusional statement is about as convincing as Larry reciting his wedding vows. Madonna’s new toyboy is a 26-yearold ‘actor’ called Timor Steffens.
She was seen parading him on a boat in the South of France today with her children Lourdes, 17, and Rocco, 13. If you add the ages of all three of them together, it adds up to 56.
Madonna is 56. What would be your last meal on Earth? Mine would be freshly grilled giant prawns, spaghetti Bolognese ( cooked by my mother), sticky toffee pudding and custard, and a giant slab of stinking Epoisses cheese. All washed down with Puligny Montrachet, Chateau Latour ’61 and a good 18-year-old malt whisky.
Heston Blumenthal – renowned as one of the great scientists of the culinary world, preparing feasts of staggering complexity – has a simpler answer. ‘Roast chicken and potatoes, with my kids,’ he told me at a wedding party for mutual friends.
He’s r ight . Meals, however fabulous, are really only ever as good as the people you eat them with. Ricky Gervais is an absurdly talented comic genius with a penchant for dangerous mischief that makes Dick Dastardly look lame. Today, I chanced upon an interview he gave to US entertainment website The Wrap, where he revealed plans for a new movie starring David Brent, his appallingly funny creation from The Office.
Called Life On The Road, it sees Brent embarking on an attempt to be a pop star.